Planning an excursion

There has recently been some changes to our education program and activities offered. Find out more about the products currently offered from the pages below. Rottnest Island Authority is working hard to develop new curriculum-linked activities and welcomes your feedback and suggestions.

To make your planning experience easier and less stressful, we have outlined a step by step process to guide you through your journey:

Step One: Plan your island activities
View the Educational Tours and Activities and Curriculum-linked Self-Guided Activities tabs above for a complete list of island activities and tours. There are activity kits available for hire for Self-Guided Activities.

Step Two: Arrange venues and accommodation
When planning your school excursion or camp, it's smart to first check that your required accommodation and venues (visit the tabs above) will be available during your excursion dates. Accommodation can now be booked up to 18 months in advance.

Step Three: Arrange transport to the Island
Transfers across to Rottnest Island can be booked through one of the two ferry operators. Rottnest Island ferry companies provide transfers to the island from Perth City, North Fremantle (Rous Head), Fremantle (Victoria Quay) and Hillarys Boat Harbour in Perth’s north. Rottnest ferries take approximately 25 minutes from Fremantle, 45 minutes from Hillarys Boat Harbour, or 90 minutes from Perth's Barrack Street Jetty.
Don't forget to ask about group discounts for school groups.

Rottnest Express
Phone 1300 467 688
Departs from Fremantle and Perth City
Bookings and Deals

Rottnest Fast Ferries
Phone +61 8 9246 1039
Departs from Hillary’s Ferry Terminal
Bookings and Deals 

Step Four: Arrange catering
Kids need energy to keep their bodies and minds active! Whether it is a self prepared meal or catered options that are delivered to you, there are a number of different providers available on Rottnest Island. For full list and contact details, download the Catering Factsheet.

Handy Extras

Curriculum Linked Activities

Full downloadable information about self-guided activities available below and form available here (print-friendly version).

Self guided activity kits are available for hire at a daily rate. Kits come complete with all the equipment and information needed for the facilitator to conduct the activities themselves.

Our range of curriculum-linked self guided activities allow more freedom when planning your excursion. The flexibility of these activities mean you can tailor your itinerary to best suit the group. 


Adventure Challenge Cycle

Participants work in small groups to complete an Amazing Race style activity. Groups must work together to solve clues that lead them to a destination where they will need to complete challenge activities.

Curriculum links:  H&P, S&E


Adventure Challenge Foot Race

Provide the opportunity for participants to build positive relationships with their peers by working as part of a small team while developing their awareness of Rottnest Island’s environment and history.

For teachers: 50 mins. Years 6-12. Runs effectively with 10-30 people.
Curriculum links: HPE, S&E


Beach Clean Up

By participating in a beach clean up you are helping us collect information about the type of debris which washes up or is left on our beaches. This information is then reported to a national registry as part of the Tangaroa Blue Ocean Care Society. Equipment provided.

For teachers: For as long as you like and suitable for any age and any size group.
Curriculum links:  Science, S&E, Maths, Sustainability


Cycle Safety

Aspects covered include preparation for getting students ready to go for a ride as well as the knowledge of how to cycle safely and follow the road rules.  Meeting location: Kingstown.

For teachers: 50 mins. Years 3-7.  Runs effectively with 10-30 people
Curriculum links:        H&P


Tidal Treasures

A beach-combing activity where kids can discover ocean treasures which may have washed up on the beaches of Rottnest. Develop knowledge of coastal and marine ecosystems and the special features of the organisms in this discovery activity.

For teachers: 50 mins. Years 3-12.  Runs effectively with 10-30 people
Curriculum links: Science, SP, S&E


Compass Challenge

Using grid reference, map orientation, compass bearing and pacing, teams will need to answer as many questions as they can as they navigate themselves around a set course.

For teachers:    120 mins. Years 7-12.  Runs effectively with 10-30 people
Curriculum links: H&PE


Curious Quokkas

Use investigative techniques to develop a greater understanding of quokka behaviour and habitat. Search for, observe, record and discuss where quokkas live, what they eat and how they spend their day.

For teachers: 50 mins. Years 3-10. Runs effectively with 10-30 people
Curriculum links: S&E, Science


Orienteering

Learn navigation and map reading skills and use this knowledge to help complete an orienteering challenge.  By working in small groups, leadership skills and team work are essential for success.

For teachers: 50 mins. Years 6-10.  Runs effectively with 10-30 people
Curriculum links: H&PE, Maths


The Seasons of Wadjemup

Learn about the six Noongar seasons and the significance of the flora and fauna during each as well as their traditional uses.

For Teachers:  60 min. Years 5-8. Runs effectively with 10-25 students
Curriculum links: Geography, Science, History, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders Histories & Cultures


Sustainability Challenge

A geo cache style cycle challenge, using hand held GPS units and map orientation teams will navigate to find answers to a series of questions on sustainability initiatives on Rottnest Island.

For Teachers:   120 mins. Years 7-12. Runs effectively with 20-40 Students
Curriculum links: Geography, Science, History, Sustainability

Educational Tours and Activities

There are many island tours and activities to experience, whether it be by foot or bus, you can be entertained early in the morning until late at night. The Rottnest Voluntary Guides Association (RVGA) offer tours encouraging exploration of the Island where your group can discover the history of the Oliver Hill guns, see the sights from the top of Wadjemup lighthouse, hear stories of settlement ghosts or stargaze the night away. 

School camp activities on Rottnest Island

If you’re looking for something a little more active and adventurous, how about sailing, surfing, fishing for outdoor water based activities? Or explore the Island’s history and terrestrial environment a little further at the Museum, from the top of the lighthouse or get active with a spot of tennis. The options are endless.


Put your best foot forward with any of these walking tours:

Pioneers and Prisoners 
Retrace the footsteps of our early inhabitants as we take you on a journey to learn about Rottnest Island in the 1800s. You will be taken on a guided walk through the historic Thomson Bay Settlement to discover the Island’s rich heritage, incorporating both Aboriginal and European history. Not available at 11 am or 2 pm. Max 20 students per group.

Reefs, wrecks and daring sailors
Pilots were stationed on Rottnest Island between 1838 and 1903 to guide ships safely around the Island’s dangerous reefs. This tour incorporates the pilot crew accommodation, the boathouse and a replica pilot boat.  Not available at 11 am or 2 pm. Max 20 students per group.

Stargazing
Walk to the Vlamingh Lookout where a myriad of stars can be seen.  Learn about planets, stars and constellations. Times are subject to change throughout the year and will be confirmed on booking. Max 20 students per group.

Twilight tales 
Step back in time and learn about the secrets of some of Rottnest Island’s early inhabitants. This evening walking tour is full of stories to surprise and intrigue you!  Times are subject to change through out year. Time will be confirmed on booking. Max 20 students per group.

Wadjemup Lighthouse

Discover what goes on within the walls of a real working lighthouse and experience the breathtaking 360o views from the top. Available between 9:00am - 11:00am. Other times may be available by special arrangement at the time of booking. Maximum group size of ten people in the lighthouse at any one time.

Oliver Hill Gun and Tunnels
Visit the massive 9.2 inch diameter gun on Oliver Hill and tour the underground tunnels to experience Rottnest Island during World War II. A voluntary guide will ensure an educational journey. Please note that Oliver Hill is limited to 2 groups per session at the following times: 11:00am and 1:00pm.  Other times may be available by special arrangement at the time of booking. Max 15 students per group.

View Education Services Price List


Stay active with these fun & adventurous activities:

Cycle
Head to Pedal & Flipper to grab your bikes. Host to over 1,300 bikes, a small fleet of electric bikes and speciality recreation equipment for hire, Pedal & Flipper is the largest hire facility of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Open every day of the year.

Golf Course
The Rottnest Island Country Club hosts a nine hole public golf course and is the ideal venue for a few hours of outdoor physical exercise in a unique and picturesque environment.

Rottnest Island Fun Park
Open every day of the year, the Rottnest Island Fun Park and Mini Putt-Putt offers arcade games and mini-golf.

Rottnest Movies at the Picture Hall
An old favourite - the Rottnest Island Movies operates by special request.

Rottnest Museum
Discover Rottnest Island’s fascinating natural and cultural heritage at the Rottnest Island museum, located in the Settlement. Opening hours are from 11am – 3pm. Groups bookings essential. Max 30 people.

Tennis Courts
Fancy a game of tennis? Rottnest Island has two sets of tennis courts, one located near Bathurst Lighthouse, Geordie Bay and the other, conveniently located within walking distance from Kingstown. Equipment available for hire at Pedal & Flipper.

Wadjemup Lighthouse
Climb the 157 stairs with a guide to the very top of Wadjemup Lighthouse where you can experience 360 degree views of Rottnest Island. Tour takes 30 mins. Max 10 people at a time.

Charter 1
From primary to high school, from sailing to snorkelling – Capella has something to offer all age groups. Bring the class on board for a day of fun! Capella holds 38 passengers for day trips and for extended stays, sleeps 10 passengers overnight.

EcoAdventure
Join the Rottnest Express crew on the Eco Express for a 90 minute journey to the Island’s wild side on a full circumnavigation of Rottnest Island. Operates September to April.

Fishing Clinics
Join volunteers from RecFishWest for fishing clinics on Rottnest Island. Clinics run for up to two hours. Max 30 people.

Just Fun Aqua Park
Just 4 Fun Aqua Park Just 4 Fun Aqua Park is inflatable floating equipment manned by certified staff and is experienced at providing for large school & youth groups. It’s great for adding a splash of serious fun and productive exercise to your school camp! Operates mid-October – May.

Segway Tours WA 
Segway Tours WA lead school groups on a journey of discovery and exploration into Rottnest's most hidden treasures. This eco-friendly adventure is suitable for children aged 12+ with a weight of 45kg+. Tours can be conducted in groups of up to 16pax. Located at Kingstown Barracks.   

Surfing WA 
Surfing WA currently provides a range of programs for all students from primary and secondary schools. Learn about SunSmart behaviour, surf safety and awareness, surf culture and environmental issues.

 


Rottnest Island mobile application

Looking for more to do?

  • Experience Perth offers an in-depth profile on Rottnest Island and identifies a number of ‘things to see and do’ on this amazing Island that is only a short distance from Perth and Fremantle cities. http://www.experienceperth.com/destinations/rottnest-island
  • Download your free Rottnest Island smartphone app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store and expand your self-guided experience today. This free app consists of a range self-guided tours including walking, cycling and snorkelling. You will discover the complex history and stories of Rottnest Island, from Aboriginal occupation to over 100 years of tourism and everything in between including European settlement, agricultural industry, military installations and the continual change of becoming a sustainable tourism destination
  • Over 50 geocaches are placed within the Rottnest Island reserve. Rottnest Islander caches are informative and provide a further insight into the Island’s environmental and historical attributes. Download the application on your smart phone or log into geocaching.com and view on line.

Venue Hire

Full downloadable information about venues available from link at the bottom of this page (print-friendly version).

Activity Rooms with kitchenette facilities are also available for hire at Kingstown. These are well equipped to host your quiz, movie or games nights or any other exciting activities you can come up with! These are available for day or evening use and times and prices are available on application.

The Picture Hall

The Picture Hall is suitable for groups of 50-250. This is an appropriate venue for a workshops, meetings and lectures. The venue is equipped with: lectern, mircrophone, small PA system, chairs, trestle tables, canvas deck chairs, and message board. Whiteboard, TV/Video and overhead projector are also available for hire.

The Peacock Inn

Located between the Barracks and Governors Circle, this facility can cater for groups of 25-40 people. It is an appropriate venue for classroom activities or quiz nights. The venue is equipped with: fridge, sink, running water, 2 toilets near by, undercover outdoor veranda area, whiteboard, and chairs.

Rottnest Island Country Club

The Country Club features a large meeting room, a downstairs breakout space, cutting-edge conference equipment and an outside alfresco area. The meeting room can hold up to 100 people.

Kingstown Barracks Rooms

Activity Rooms with kitchenette facilities are also available for hire at Kingstown. These are well equipped to host your quiz, movie or games nights or any other exciting activities you can come up with! These are available for day or evening use.

Main Hall and Kitchenette

Located within the Barracks building itself, the Main Hall is suitable for larger groups of 100-150 people. This is close to the dining hall and is ideal for games nights or performances.

Video Room

Located within the main Kingstown Barracks building, the Video Room is suitable for smaller groups of 15-30 people. Smaller group activities are ideal in this room.

Camp Accommodation

An overnight, or extended stay, on Rottnest Island is the perfect way to make the most out of any experience. Fill up your day and evenings with Island activities and utilise the dedicated groups’ precinct of Kingstown Barracks for a range of accommodation facilities to rest and revitalise.

A stay throughout the historic Army Barracks or Governor’s Circle houses provides a selection of dormitory style rooms and self contained cottages available to accommodate any size group, large or small. Close by, you will find activity rooms for hire; large open spaces and the pristine coastline to introduce the students to the excitement and learning experience offered by Rottnest Island.

Schools and community groups under the age of 18 can book accommodation at Kingstown Barracks and Governor’s Circle up to 18 months in advance from the 15th day of the month, 18 months and 2 weeks before the month of arrival. Special discounted group rates will apply year round with a further reduction applicable for bookings between May and September. See price list on our website.


Kingstown Barracks
The Barracks played a huge part in Rottnest Island’s war history and has been popular amongst school groups for many years.The former Army Barracks feature 17 dormitory rooms with communal bathroom facilities. The dormitories are made up of a number of different sized bunk rooms which can accommodate up to a total of 164 people. Blankets and pillows are provided. 


Kingstown RAA and RAE Buildings
Located across the yard from the Barracks, the RAA and RAE buildings offer accommodation for up to 50 people in a mix of 3, 6 and 10 bed dormitory-style rooms. Communal bathroom facilities are close by and an outside BBQ area is close by. Blankets and pillows are provided.


Governors Circle
Governor’s Circle is a stone’s throw from the Barracks with 9 self-contained houses each with its own fully equipped private kitchen and bathroom facilities. There is a combination of 9, 13 or 18 bed houses with a total capacity of 106 beds. Blankets and pillows are provided. Private BBQ facilities are also available at each house.

View the School Accommodation Price List for 2015-16
View the School Accommodation Price List for 2016-17
View the School Accommodation Price List for 2017-18

View the Kingstown Accommodation Map

For any accommodation enquiries or bookings please contact our dedicated Groups’ Coordinator on +61 8 9432 9118 or email groups@rottnestisland.com

Resources and Downloads

Make your learning experience richer. Following are a list of publications about the Island’s Aboriginal history, heritage, colonial buildings, birdlife and terrestrial environment that will help you on your way. There are also a list of websites and lesson suggestions for teachers and camp leaders.

Publications


Rottnest Island It's Our Heritage publication

Rottnest Island – It’s our Heritage by RIA
Rottnest Island allows a number of layers of Western Australian history to be appreciated in the one area, including colonial, Aboriginal, maritime, military, recreational and social heritage.  This publication is intended to provide a ‘snapshot’ of the significant historic value of the Island from first discovery by Dutch navigators to current day.
This RIA Publication is available for purchase either on the Island from the Visitor Centre or by post by completing a purchasing request form


Rottnest Island Aboriginal History publication
Rottnest Island - A guide to Aboriginal history on Wadjemup by RIA
Rottnest Island is referred to as Wadjemup by traditional Aboriginal people from the Noongar language group. As custodians of the land the Whadjuk people have strong spiritual connections to Wadjemup and it remains significant to the Aboriginal community today.  This publication aims to tell the ‘untold’ story of many Aboriginal men and boys imprisoned on the Island during the 93 years it operated as a prison, while acknowledging the traditional and contemporary connection Aboriginal people have with Wadjemup. It is also a major step toward reconciliation for the Island.
This RIA Publication is available for purchase either on the Island from the Visitor Centre or by post by completing a purchasing request form.

Rottnest Island Colonial building publication
Rottnest Island – A guide to the colonial buildings of the Thomson Bay settlement by RIA
This publication provides a description of the history of the buildings of the Thomson Bay settlement on Rottnest Island and their architecture. All constructed in the 19th century and primarily of limestone, with the exception of some minor 20th century brick or timber-framed additions, the buildings – most of which are still standing today - provide visitors a step back in time to discover elements of the island’s history and industry.  This publication explains what each of the building’s purpose was and what they are now used for.
This RIA Publication is available for purchase either on the Island from the Visitor Centre or by post by completing a purchasing request form.

Rottnest Island Birds publication
A Bird’s Eye View of Rottnest Island by RIA
Rottnest Island provides an idyllic escape from the hectic routine of life on the mainland – and not just for humans. A combination of distinct habitats, lack of predators and minimal human development has enabled many species of birds, mammals, insects and reptiles to prosper on the Island. Birds in particular, have benefited greatly from this isolation. This publication, written in partnership with Birds Australia, describes the main habitats on Rottnest Island – including the coast, salt lakes, heath, woodlands and settlement - and introduces 54 bird species which live on or regularly visit the Island.
This RIA Publication is available for purchase either on the Island from the Visitor Centre or by post by completing a purchasing request form.

Rottnest Island – Terrestrial Paradise by RIA
Rottnest Island – Terrestrial Paradise by RIA
The Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh described Rottnest Island as a ‘terrestrial paradise’ when he visited it in 1696. He described an island covered in dense woodland with rich wildlife. Since then, human impact has drastically altered the natural features of the terrestrial environment.  This publication explores the Island’s weather conditions, geographical history, vegetation, flora and fauna including an overview of its mammals, reptiles and bird species. The provisions of water, power and waste management are also discussed.
This RIA Publication is available for purchase either on the Island from the Visitor Centre or by post by completing a purchasing request form.
Coastal Plants Perth and the South-West Region by Barbara Rowland and Elizabeth Rippey
Coastal Plants Perth and the South-West Region by Barbara Rowland and Elizabeth Rippey
Coastal Plants is a guide to the plants that grow along the Perth coastline and on the islands between Dongara and Dunsborough. There are descriptions of over 130 plant species, from seagrasses to the beautiful Boronia alata, from the mangroves of the Abrolhos islands to invasive Arum Lilies, from the giant Tuart eucalypts to beach spinifexes. Each description yields a wealth of detail on the habits and peculiarities of not only the plants, but also some of the animal life that is associated with them.

Superbly illustrated with line drawings and watercolour paintings of each species, Coastal Plants is an important reference work on this diverse group of plants.

 


Fifty Years Afloat by Hugh Cameron

Fifty Years Afloat by Hugh Cameron
Fifty Years Afloat details the Rottnest and Swan River ferry boats and the men who ran them. Hugh Cameron’s interesting and well-written account of his experience in small vessels, particularly ferries in Western Australia, and on dredges in Queensland, makes a welcome addition to the published material dealing with aspects of local maritime history.



 








Far From Home by Neville Green and Susan Moon

Far From Home by Neville Green and Susan Moon
'Far From Home' identifies more than 3600 Aboriginal prisoners who served time on Rottnest Island. Some were associated with historic events such as the Bttle of Pinjarra (1834), the Flying Foam massacre (1868), the Jandamarra uprising in the Kimberley (1892-94) and the Forrest River massacre (1926). Some travelled with the explorers John Forrest and Francis Gregory, and others, while on parole, severed on the frontiers as police assistants, pearl divers and guides for the telegraph surveys.
Accompanying the biographical listing of prisoners is a historical account of the Rottnest establishment and prison life, describing the experiences of men who were separated from their families and sent to a cold and deary island off the coast of Western Australia. For more than 370 it was a one-way journey, and today, denied the recognition they deserve, they lie in unmarked graves far from home.



Gone to Rottnest by Trea Wiltshire

Gone to Rottnest by Trea Wiltshire
Rottnest Island has iconic status for Western Australians, who have always valued it for its relaxed atmosphere and unspoiled simplicity. Gone to Rottnest tells the story of the island, tracing its transformation from a place of imprisonment to a favourite holiday destination. Trea Wiltshire celebrates the natural history and simple pleasures of the island—biking and snorkelling, diving and bird watching. Readers are introduced to the birds that will share their stretch of beach, the vegetation they will ride through when exploring the island, the fish they may catch, and the migrating whales and playful dolphins of the Indian Ocean.


Guidebook to the Geology of Rottnest Island by Phillip E Playford

Guidebook to the Geology of Rottnest Island by Phillip E Playford
Guidebook to the Geology of Rottnest Island by Philip E Playford provides a detailed account of the geology of Rottenst Island, as well as being a handy field guide to key geological localities. It will be of interest not only to professional geologists, but also to teachers, students, and members of the general public who wish to learn something about the geology while holidaying on the island.




 


 


Jack’s Island by Norman Jorgensen

Jack’s Island by Norman Jorgensen
Jack’s family is based on Rottnest Island during WWII while his father helps build an airfield. Jack and his best friend Banjo have the run of the island and a remarkable knack for getting into trouble — but as Jack says, ‘I’m not that bad, I just get caught a lot!’ Dafty, a simple but loveable young boy, dotes on Banjo and Jack. When Dafty seeks revenge against the local schoolmaster for a punishment inflicted on Banjo, life suddenly becomes more serious. This poignant, multi-layered text offers young readers a valuable insight into life in Australia during the war.
Teaching notes are also available.


 




Rottnest Island by Sally Keady, Illustrated by Patricia Negus

Rottnest Island by Sally Keady, Illustrated by Patricia Negus
This 69 page book covers every aspect of beautiful Rottnest Island, Western Australia’s favourite holiday place. It is an informative travel guide, history book and nature guide all rolled into one easy to read book for people of all ages. More than 100 beautiful watercolour illustrations by well known Western Australian artist, Patricia Negus perfectly captures the relaxed holiday feeling, the wide variety of animals and plants and the historic buildings of the Island. A stunning gift or souvenir for all lovers of ‘Rotto’.


Wonders of Western Waters: The Marine Life of South-Western Australia by DEC

Wonders of Western Waters: The Marine Life of South-Western Australia by DEC
Western Australia's temperate waters are alive with amazing and diverse marine life. There are leafy sea dragons resembling pieces of floating seaweed, brightly coloured sea slugs that feed on corals, crabs with pieces of algae and sponge growing on their backs for camouflage, and colourful cuttlefish that can change colour and texture in an instant.Wonders of Western Waters: The Marine Life of South-Western Australia contains descriptions and photographs, of many marine inhabitants, and gives an insight into their natural history and relationships with other plants and animals in their ecosystems.
Written and photographed by two of WA's leading underwater photographers, Sue Morrison and Ann Storrie, Wonders of Western Waters: The Marine Life of South-Western Australia is a must for divers, snorkellers and anyone with an interest in our wonderful marine life.